Finding the Protagonist:
I first met Annelie.... Well I can't remember when and where. I may have been washing dishes. But that doesn't really matter because suddenly I was sitting in a apartment. I was her. Sort of. Rather, she had pulled me in. I knew the apartment was in Paris. It was light and airy. The TV was playing, but nothing more than a white noise to her.
I immediately knew I connected with her. She was so sad, broken, alone, and lifeless. Something had happened.
Her daughter had been murdered. She nearly was. And she woke up from coma.
This story was mine to tell. It had to be.
She deserved it.
And her name was Annelie.
Naming the Protagonist:
Annelie. Yeah that's the name of my protagonist. At least what she goes by. Her full name is Nadine Annelie Rivers. The last name is subject to change, but I've yet to come up with.... Hey what about DeMarco? I like it. All right her name is Nadine Annelie DeMarco. And Nadine may now change to Sabine. We'll see. You know what? Sabine works now. Nadine Marcus can be an assumed name. Or maybe Sabine Marcus is her assumed name and Nadine is her real name. Hey wait... myabe DeMarco is the assumed name and Marcus is the real one. Sabine Marcus. Annelie Marcus. Sabine Annelie Marcus- It lacks pizazz. I like it. It's a name that works. One you might find in the telephone. Inflicted by an imaginative mother or grandmother and a mundanely surnamed father. It also has reference to the fact that Annelie was supposed to be first. Mother always loved that name from childhood. father insisted that that be her middle name so she didn't have to carry around something so unusual. But the daughter preferred Annelie to Sabine. Figures.
Oh and how does N.D. Rivers sounds as a pen name? I think it will work for now.
Let's just work with "Annelie" for now. And you pronounce it an-nuh-lee, so yeah.
Giving the Protagonist a Face:
Even with no actual illustrations or overly descriptive passages, Annelie had a face. She had a style (or lack thereof) She was so high and weighed so much. She had habits and speaking patterns. I didn't invent theses things. They were already there. They came with her. It was up to me to get that face down on paper and fill in the rest.
Giving the Protagonist a Life:
This was the hard part. The part she was reluctant to reveal. The part she wanted to forget. As she tells her brother: "My life died without me."
I knew this from the start. And I accepted the challenge.
I know now that Annelie is a best-selling writer and an investigative reporter. She adopted a toddler from Ukraine. A little girl called Niki. Who was dead.
A shadow of a stranger passed over the window. A loud noise came followed immediately by a shattering sensation in her head...
Obviously a GSW. To the brain.
Yet still, why?
The only clue either of us has is the title page. Only she's not giving me a clear answer on what it says. It's a love-hate relationship. As far as communications go.
Giving the Protagonist a Purpose:
Obviously she has to do something in the novel. What? Well, she's an investigative journalist. The murder case is cold. So what does she do? She investigates.
But that can't be it. She's a TBI patient. Her life and her brain is shattered.
So putting together the pieces and moving on is the Idea. Grounding her again is The Thing.